SOUTHINGTON – The 53rd Annual Apple Harvest Festival will bring fireworks, fritters, a parade, entertainment and vendors galore to the town green over the course of two weekends, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 and Oct. 7 through 9.
David Lapreay, apple harvest festival coordinator and director of Recreation, Youth & Senior Services for the town, said that, in a good year, the long-running festival can attract as many as 100,000 people to town over the course of the two weekends.
“People know about it and look forward to it as a tradition every fall,” said Lapreay. “We get people from all over the state and some visitors from out of state. We’re in a great location downtown and we have a wide variety of activities, entertainment, crafts, vendors and food – including Zion Lutheran Church’s famous apple fritters.”
Lapreay said that there will be more than 70 vendors at this year’s festival.
Festival highlights include the return of the laser light show, which will be held Sept. 30 at 8:40 p.m.
On Oct. 1 there will be an apple fritter eating contest at noon and fireworks at 9 p.m.
The Apple Harvest Festival Road Race, sponsored by the Southington Community YMCA, will be held Oct. 2 starting at 8:30 a.m.
There will also be an apple pie eating contest Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. and the Apple Harvest Parade at 2 p.m., with a rain date set for Sunday, Oct. 9.
“Parade Day is one of the biggest days of the Apple Harvest Festival,” said Lapreay. “We are still accepting applications to be a part of that and we already have well over 60 people and organizations participating.”
The Festival’s Arts & Crafts Show, which Lapreay said will have more than 40 vendors, will be held Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Carnival, which will have a variety of rides, will be open both weekends of the festival for all festival hours. Family Nights for the carnival will be held Friday, Sept. 30 and Friday, Oct. 1, offering unlimited rides all night with the purchase of wristbands for $25 per person.
“There will also be a kiddie area with bounce houses in the former Bank of America parking lot during the first weekend of the festival,” said Lapreay.
Entertainment this year will include several local bands, Lapreay said, including popular Bruce Springsteen cover band “Tramps like Us”, who will perform on Oct. 8.
“They’re a very good band and they’ve played at Mohegan Sun,” he said.
This year’s entertainment will also include an illusionist, David Garrity, performing on Oct. 7 at two times, 5:45 and 7:30 p.m.
For a full schedule of entertainment, visit southingtonahf.com and click on the “entertainment” icon on the left side of the page.
The Apple Harvest Festival is free to enter.
Shuttle Buses will be provided from Southington High School to the festival and back for free on both Saturdays and Sundays of the festival. There will not be shuttle services on the Fridays of the festival.
For additional information on the shuttle busses, visit southingtonahf.com and clock on the “directions” icon.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.